King Arthur Myth in Modern American Fiction and Culture

Overview

In American fiction, two forms of the Arthurian myth are commonly found: the use of the myth for political reasons, and the use of the myth for the continuation of an aesthetic tradition that can be traced back to the earliest use of the Arthurian cycle by writers in the British Isles. This work traces the use of the legend from Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court to Donald Barthelme's novel The King. It discusses how Twain used the myth to take a stand against England, how it served cultural...
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Overview

In American fiction, two forms of the Arthurian myth are commonly found: the use of the myth for political reasons, and the use of the myth for the continuation of an aesthetic tradition that can be traced back to the earliest use of the Arthurian cycle by writers in the British Isles. This work traces the use of the legend from Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court to Donald Barthelme's novel The King. It discusses how Twain used the myth to take a stand against England, how it served cultural and aesthetic purposes in John Steinbeck's writing, how Raymond Chandler used it in complex texts with less obvious Arthurian allusions that carried strong cultural and even political associations, how John Gardener used aspects of the myth to embellish already existing narrative structures and to underscore philosophic debates, and how Donald Barthelme suggests the continuing interest of American writers in the Arthurian legend today in his novels. Also discussed is the effect of World War II on American literature and the Arthurian myth and the Camelot image surrounding the Kennedys.

Author Biography: Andrew E. Mathis currently teaches English and humanities at Villanova University. He lives in Media, Pennsylvania.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786411719
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/16/2001
  • Pages: 168
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrew E. Mathis currently teaches English at Temple University. He lives in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
I Mark Twain 7
II Steinbeck's Early Novels 25
III Raymond Chandler 43
IV Writers in World War II 60
V Steinbeck's Later Works 78
VI John Gardner 106
VII Donald Barthelme, et al. 122
Conclusion 139
Bibliography 145
Index 153
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